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Hunt urges better care for elderly


Better care for older people and more accountability among care home managers has been urged by new health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Andrew Lansley’s replacement this week backed his predecessor’s reforms, describing Mr Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act measures as both “right” and “brave”, and supporting a plurality of provision as well as decentralisation.

In his keynote speech at the Conservative party conference, Mr Hunt said: “We will never meet the challenges we face with over a million people trying to meet a thousand targets to satisfy one secretary of state sitting behind his desk in Whitehall.

“Nye Bevan’s vision wasn’t about monopoly provision. It was about universal provision. And to deliver it we must understand the difference between the two.”

Mr Hunt highlighted elderly care treatment and looking after those suffering from dementia as a key priority. Citing a report by the Royal College of Physicians, he said: “The system continues to treat older patients as a surprise, at best, or unwelcome at worst.”

He has asked the Care Quality Commission to look into how to make the NHS and care home providers more accountable. He said: “I need to say this to all managers: you will be held responsible for the care in your establishments.

“You wouldn’t expect to keep your job if you lost control of your finances. Well, don’t expect to keep it if you lose control of your care.”

The secretary of state added that hard truths would be faced up to by the government about “how we are going to pay for social care”.

He did not make any commitment over spending or timescales, but added: “I am proud that next year’s Care and Support Bill will mean that no-one is forced to sell their house in their lifetime to pay for care. A historic change. But we also want to go further and implement the Dilnot cap on social care costs as soon as we are able.”



Readers' comments (13)

  • I have only ever witnessed excellent care to the elderly in all the wards I have worked on. My elderly relatives have also received excellent care.

    This generalisation is harmful and hurtful to the thousands of nurses and doctors who strive to do their absolute best in caring for ALL patients, regardless of age.

    Perhaps the govt. could try improving the lives of thousands of other people who are vulnerable such as getting the homeless and mentally ill off the streets into safe accommodation.

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  • On my ward everyone gives the best care they can with the staff available.
    If only we could dump some of the paperwork (Unfortunately I hear there is more paperwork in the pipeline about to arrive shortly) valuable time could be spent with our patients.

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  • I have witnessed poor care of the elderly in hospitals, plural, and in Care Homes. They treat old people like children, assume they are all deaf, give attention to the noisy ones whilst the shy or limited vocal faculty ones go unnoticed, and only take notice of wishes when they say that they dont want the meal-it's brisked away without any persuation to encourage the person to eat- or alternative choice offered. I have also witness good care and very overworked staff, trying thier best to meet EVERYONE's needs. It's down to the manager but also each individual carer to make sure the appropriate care IS given. From experience, you can only trust people, as far as you check-up on them and warn of penalties if they are found to be neglecting their duty. The offender should take notice and improve, not rush off in a flood of tears and expect consolation instead of reproof. We all agree that staff shortages are a problem which wont go away but I think it would be a good idea to get visitors more involved with feeding and encouraging the patient. In Spain, the family have to give ALL the care, wash, change and feed their loved one, even though they PAY for most of the hospital stay!
    Yes, down-an-outs need help, but not with NHS funds. Let's make the best of what we have got and make sure everyone gets their fair share of attention in hospitals and in Nursing/Care Homes

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  • tinkerbell

    if jeremy hunt is being honest then make it so because i totally agree with what he is saying. there how about that then?

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  • tinkerbell

    there again if it is just rhetoric i will resume my heckling.

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  • Anonymous

    'and supporting a plurality of provision as well as decentralisation.'

    Hunt definitely likes that bit - many HCPs think that will just lead to a chaotic and fragmented service.

    But the rest of what it says above, doesn't explain how better treatment will be achieved, does it ? It could be read as an attempt to lay the blame for any 'bad outcomes' entirely on the shoulders of front-line managers, wth no provision for any 'you didn't give us enough resource to make the job possible !' argument ?

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  • tinkerbell

    I'm a bit dim but ... | 12-Oct-2012 3:54 pm

    Well spotted, maybe he was hoping nobody would notice that - i didn't, so you are possibly more cynical than I? What a relief!

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  • anon 2.55

    'down and outs' - who are they, vulnerable people who have fallen on hard times, those with mental health issues, those who have lost their homes, jobs,experienced relationship breakdowns, ex military who cannot adjust to civilian life?

    I assume you are not a health professional as we are here to offer help to all those who need it and are not judgemental.

    Let's hope you never become a 'down and out'.

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  • tinkerbell

    please consider donating. Let's get OUR NHS back.

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  • Anon 7.06
    I much prefer 'Kings of the Road'

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